Date of Award

2016

Document Type

Project

Advisor(s)

Deane Wang, Ph.D.

Marla Emery, Ph.D.

Alison Brody, Ph.D.

Alicia Daniel, M.S.

Abstract

Sweeping views of the Berkshires and miles of trails await guests at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in western Massachusetts, yet surprisingly few visitors venture outside. I collaborated with Mass Audubon to transform Kripalu's grounds from a beautiful backdrop viewed through the windows to an essential part of the guest experience. To accomplish this, I conducted a rapid ecological assessment of the 125-acre property, mapped its network of trails, and piloted natural history programs for guests. The rapid ecological assessment serves as a resource for Kripalu’s grounds staff and future educators. To encourage more guests to venture outside, I collaborated with Kripalu’s grounds and marketing teams to design new trail maps, signage, and a plan for increasing awareness of the property’s extensive outdoor opportunities. I also interpreted the landscape’s rich natural and cultural history during outdoor programs, summarized attendee evaluations, and made recommendations that serve as the basis for future programs. Overall, the project catalyzed a mutually beneficial partnership between Kripalu and Mass Audubon, and clarified how nature fits in to Kripalu’s focus on health and its vision to create a compassionate, connected world. Summary reports and new maps will guide Kripalu’s efforts to steward its land, ensure that guests can access outdoor resources, and engage guests with the landscape through natural history programs. Ultimately, this project strives to connect people to the ecosystems that sustain them.